Airport bliss

(photo: BryanAlexander/flickr)

How well do you know your family and friends? Or rather, how well do your family and friends know you?

I would wager that none of you know as much about each other as you actually think you do.

For the last 2 1/2 months, I have been in New Hampshire, going through my sister’s things after her sudden heart attack and death. What I have discovered is that no matter how well I thought I knew her, there are all sorts of little ways that I find where I did not know her quite as well as I had thought. There was her recent change to a gluten free diet. There were all the foodie related email and magazine subscriptions she had. And there was her selling of beloved antiques in order to stay alive.

I knew she had arthritis and suffered from repetitive stress injuries. I did not know she had decided last summer that she could no longer go kayaking.

I did decide as I have gone through her papers that I would just shred her medical records without doing more than glancing at them. I figure that I don’t need to know more than the basics of her ailments and felt that shredding was the logical thing to do since no one else needs to know her information either.

I have also realized these last few weeks that it is probably a good idea for me to start getting my own paper work into shape; shredding things that are in the “nunya” category and putting the rest of the things in order. I’ve actually been helped along a bit with Cissy’s papers and things as she had laid out some fairly explicit instructions for the disposal of her life in her Will and her Living Trust, both of which she set up when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in ’03.

One area where I am kind of looking forward to learning more is when I get a chance later to review some of her journals. She took some courses at various local universities here in New Hampshire that included self-assessments and I look forward to reading her thoughts on herself as well. On top of this, I am also kind of looking forward to reading the journals of our grandmother and mother, journals that Cissy had saved after our father died and we cleaned out his apartment. I’m sure there will be a lot more areas where I learn things about loved ones that I had never known.

I wonder what my family and friends will learn about me when I’m gone? What will surprise your family and friends?